Monday, April 25, 2011


I love all things Mezze. If you don't know what Mezze is, basically, Mezze is a compilation of small dishes served in the Middle East or Mediterranean that is served during lunch or dinner as an appetizer. Some things that are typically served in a Mezze are hummus, grape leaves, tabouleh, baba ganoush, lebni, halloumi cheese, olives and my favorite ever: muhammara! I mean, I must really love Mezze because I named my dog 'Baba Ganoush!'

It's kind of impossible to make a complete Mezze platter for myself since I would be the only one eating it and could not possibly eat it for all meals of the day for a month! My plan has been to cook one mezze dish per every two weeks, that way I can have mini Mezzes for myself and not let anything go to waste. This week, I made Muhammara. It is love. It's literally the simplest thing to whiz together in a food processor and once you've arranged all of the ingredients in front of you, it takes a second to make.

Muhummara + warm whole white pita = snack heaven! Slightly sweet, slightly savory and smoky; delicious.

Yields: about 3 cups

1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts, toasted
2 roasted red bell peppers (freshly roasted or 3 jarred)
1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped
1 tbsn. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup finely ground unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
2 tbsn. pomegranate molasses
1 tbsn. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Finely chop the walnuts in a food processor but be careful not to pulse them into a paste. They should be the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Add the bell pepper, onion and lemon juice and pulse until the peppers are finely chopped. Add the breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, sugar, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Pulse once to blend. Gradually add the oil, blending until the mixture resembles a very coarse puree. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tailored Tuesday & Travel

1. vivienne westwood {fringes linen and silk-blend scarf}
i just love linen scarves in warm weather!

2. thakoon addition {printed silk tank}
love the shape of this.

3. acne {sensational washed satin-twill shorts}
good for day, night!

4. chloe {marcie small leather bag}

ummm, die.

5. chan luu {sterling silver and leather bracelet}
casual jewelry ftw.

6. dkny {destin faux python washed leather sandals}
looks comfy!

7. rosebud perfume co. {rosebud salve}
i keep moisturizer on me at all times - this is great for your lips, skin, etc.

8. shimmi {nicole lace-up bandeau bikini}
love the back detailing.

9. chanel {nailpolish in dragon}
the most perfect shade of red.

10. neutrogena {sport face sunblock}
i almost never burn but i always make sure to stay protected! i wear sunscreen on my face err'day!

11. bumble & bumble {surf spray}
again, live for that perfect tousled do.

12. forever 21 {square rhinestone bands}
forever makes the best, accessible jewelry!

13. forever 21 {metal elements bobby pin set}
always losing bobby pins... must always have an infinite amount!

beach cathedral is RIGHT. i've never seen something so wondrous!

hopefully visiting this beauty sometime this year :)

a blue that's oh so hypnotizing. 

where has this been hiding all my life?

this looks like some kind of amazing!

i can only imagine what kind of amazing beings dwell here.

laying on one of those bamboo mats with a coconut in my hand sounds like perfection.

i'd love to stroll these streets on a warm day and examine every notch on the walls...

All images from Pinterest and Net-a-porter.
Images are linked to their sources.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Simple Things {Los Angeles, CA}

Simple Things has got it right. In reality, it doesn't take a lot of things to make a person happy, we just tend to overcomplicate, stress and pick at things that should have been left alone from the beginning. Basically, Simple Things is a restaurant that serves sandwiches and pie. Their motto in fact is: Sandwich. Pie. Done. It love it!

So, that's what we did for lunch. Sandwiches + pies, and it was amazing! Above, my friend got the special sandwich of the day. It was pulled pork with some sort of cabbage slaw and if I remember correctly, some kind of chutney on an onion bread-roll thing. It was freaking amazing! Their sandwiches come with some house picked veggies which added some nice crunch factor.

I chose a soup + sandwich combo and opted for their soup of the day: split pea & mint alongside the avocado melt sandwich. Umm I died and went to sandwich heaven. Avocado melt sounds like it would be something familiar, but this definitely was not. It was filled with an apricot chutney, beautifully ripe avocado, roasted red peppers, fontina, melty manchego, and buttermilk bleu dressing all on buttery brioche...

I'm dying just writing about it. I wish I had it in my hand right now! But then it would be impossible to not get brioche crumbs all over my keyboard... sigh.

The split pea soup was so wonderfully presented, I almost didn't want to eat it. But of course, I ate it, and am glad I made that decision. It tasted like they had just made it and pureed it to order - that's how fresh it was. So hearty and good.

Root beer to wash it all down.

And of course... last but certainly not least... the pie. I know, pure gluttony! But how could we not get the pie? It was just so adorable and it kept leering at us from it's gorgeous little display case. We chose the banana cream pie and cherry pie. Obviously, from the first picture of the post, we devoured the banana cream pie. The crust was by far the best part - a bit nutty, loose and had this praline-caramelized taste to it. It was ridiculously good.

The cherry was good, but nothing I'd get again. It was simple, but not sweet enough for me. But anything put next to a good custard will always lose in my book!

Proof Bakery {Los Angeles, CA}

On the way to the Glendale mall, a friend & I decided to stop by Proof Bakery which we've been hearing about and have been wanting to try for some time now. I love bakeries and seeing how different people make their bakeries their own.

Proof was a little hole in the wall, but simply gorgeous. Admittedly, I arrived 30 minutes before their closing time, so I knew I wouldn't have the greatest selection or the freshest goods... but I was willing to try it anyway. 
There was barely anything left, which says great things about the bakery! I just grabbed an almond croissant to go with an iced tea, while my friend grabbed some gougeres. The gougeres smelled so deliciously cheesy and were so perfectly crispy.

The almond croissant was good, but not as good as the ones I make haha. Although I don't make the croissant dough myself so I'll give them that!
Of course, I got iced tea because I love it so.

The Kitchen {Los Angeles, CA}

People who live in Los Angeles like to eat locally, or at least that's what my best friend tells me. It makes sense though... with all of that horrendous LA traffic, it takes a good 30 minutes just to get from one side of town to the other. With all of the great restaurants around, eating locally doesn't get boring either!
If I were to live in LA though, I just know I wouldn't take the same approach to eating out. I'd travel far and wide to try every new restaurant, trend, scene. When my friend told me about The Kitchen, and it being one of her favorite new eateries in her neighborhood, I was excited to say the least. 
The first time I tried The Kitchen was on New Years Eve. As you might have guessed, for me, it wasn't very memorable. I tried the meatloaf, and to me, meatloaf is a great deal - so if you don't do it right, well I'll be very sad. 

The meatloaf... was just not as exciting as I hoped it to be. But, I decided to give The Kitchen another try, and this time for their brunch! The one thing my friend told me I had to, had to try was their pear pancakes. I was so excited about Pear Pancakes that I attempted to make them before even trying The Kitchen's famous ones themselves.  
Being the gluttons that we are, we both started with some savory breakfast. I opted for the Italian Breakfast Sandwich, which consisted of toasty, soft, fluffy slices of French bread, smothered in marinara, topped with perfectly poached eggs and zippy Parmesan and herbs. Alongside was a mound of country potatoes with sauteed veggies and bacon... and boy was it a mound of bacon... BACON!
As you can see, it was quite the spread. It was hearty and comforting on a warm Saturday morning. I really love how much bacon they gave me though... I hate it when restaurants skimp on things and they sure did not skimp me on any bacon!

My friend opted for the breakfast sandwich (picture all the way at the top). It was served alongside a frisee salad with blue cheese and breakfast potatoes as well. I didn't get to try it, but from the moans I heard across the table, I can deduce it hit the spot as well. 
Lastly, but certainly not least-ly are their utterly fabulous pear pancakes with caramel sauce... caramel sauce ugh!!! Can you believe we ended our meal with pancakes?! As if ginormous plates of meaty carnage weren't enough. But you know me... I can never end a meal without something sweet.

These were so fantastically fluffy and perfect, perfect pancakes. I wish there were more pear but that just made me savor every bit of caramelized pear. Every other part was doused in buttery caramel sauce deliciousness. The caramel sauce, decadent though it was, was perfectly balanced and not too sweet. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chewy Matcha Chip Cookies

I did the unthinkable. I still can't believe I did it; something magical, something so beautiful I thought it only existed in dreams. I made matcha chips. Yes, yes I love tea. Blah blah blah, I say it so many times I don't think I need to say it again. I'm always searching for new ways to get tea into my baked goods and people, I have struck the tea-in-baked-goods gold!
I was inspired on a day of boredom to create such goodness. I've recently seen Nutella being made into chips, which of course, I plan on making soon as well - I mean, come on, how could I not? With the last bit of my matcha, I decided to mix it into some melted white chocolate and voila! Matcha chips, literally in 10 minutes. It... could... not... be... simpler! 
Kermit, you were surely wrong. It is very easy being green - especially when you are as lovely as Matcha. I mean come on with that stunning color! Of course, I had to toss these into these a chewy cookie batter and then nom, nom, nom on them as if my life depended on it! Oy vey... such is the life of a baker.

About the matcha chips, I only had 1 tablespoon of matcha powder left, so that's what I added to my melted white chocolate. After they had hardened, and I popped one in my mouth, the matcha flavor was not as distinct as I had wanted them to be, so in the recipe, I upped the amount to 2 tablespoons. Although, after being baked into the cookies, the matcha flavor was a bit more prominent - score! But next time, I still would double the matcha since a "pow" of matcha flavor is highly welcomed.
The cookie dough in all of its wispy, lovely goodness:
A celebration of GREEN!

Chewy Matcha Chip Cookies
Yields: 24 - 30 cookies
Highly adapted from here.

For the cookies
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 tbsn. strong-brewed green tea
2 cups matcha chips

For the matcha chips:
2 cups white chocolate chips
2 tbsn. matcha powder

To make the matcha chips, carefully melt the white chocolate over a double boiler, making sure not to burn it. Once smooth, whisk in the matcha powder until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into 'chips' onto a piece of foil. Allow to harden completely, about 1 hour or you can speed this up in the freezer.

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until very smooth and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and green tea. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in the matcha chips carefully. Roll rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, then place on the prepared cookie sheet, about 1 1/2" apart. Use your palm to press them down slightly. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to cool completely on a rack.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tailored Tuesday & Travel

1. paul & joe sister {so navy striped linen scarf}
linen scarves are perfect for those light summer breezes & late summer nights.

2. bally {vivyan leather-trimmed canvas tote}
a tote to carry everything you could ever need.

3. matthew williamson {escape shell-print silk-chiffon dress}
looks like a whole lot of lovely on a summer day.

4. cutler & gross {acetate and metal frame aviator sunglasses}
aviators are a classic, but these are a modern take on it.

5. miu miu {woven leather brogues}
ummm woven brogues?! a must for summer.

6. frederick fekkai {marine summer hair spray}
i love beach hair products for that perfect tousled look. 

7. fuct {ssdd a-3 backpack}
obsessed with backpacks lately, just bought this one. got a deal of course - looove it!

8. yves saint laurent {touche eclat radiant concealer}
i've always wanted to try this but it's a tad expensive! so chic!

9. zimmermann {embellished floral-print triangle bikini}
the colors just scream BEACH!

10. zara {luggage}
impractical to carry but sure is pretty.

11. clinique {dramatically different moisturizer}
i love this moisturizer because it's so light and not too oily.

12. nars {blush in orgasm}
the epic blush to end all blushes! looks awesome on everyone and the name is always a giggle.

13. forever 21 {2-piece gingham hair bow set}
bows make everything cuter.

waterfall frozen in mid fall? a definite sight to be seen.

i think anyone who wouldn't want to see aurora borealis must be certifiably insane.

baobad trees are these trees that grow inflammed because they harbor all of this excess water in their trunks. people might call them fat - i call them beautiful!

who knew such beauty was hiding in canada?

you can almost eat the stars they're so bright!


a small part of me dies whenever i see crystal clear, gorgeously bright blue water.

if only....

so awesome! imagine sun bathing with your friends, all in your own personal pool!

All images from Pinterest and Net-a-porter.
Images are linked to their sources.